Oil, Gas Exploration Noise Not Impacting Gulf Sperm Whales

Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 16:56 in Earth & Climate

Noise can be irritating and possibly harmful for everything from mice to humans – and maybe even 60-foot whales in the Gulf of Mexico. That's why in recent years, there has been concern that man-made noise may be a cause of stress for dolphins, whales and other marine mammals, but the results of a five-year study show that noise pollution – especially noise generated by seismic airguns during geophysical exploration for oil and gas – seems to have minimal effect on endangered sperm whales in the Gulf of Mexico, say researchers from Texas A&M University who led the project and released their 323-page report today at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The multi-year $9 million study, the largest of its type ever undertaken and formally titled Sperm Whale Seismic Study in the Gulf of Mexico, was conducted by the Minerals Management Service and featured cooperation with the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The project brought together researchers from eight universities, but it was managed overall by Texas A&M's Department of Oceanography, with research scientist Ann Jochens and professor Doug Biggs serving as principal investigators. Read More...

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